October 16, 2022
World Food Day — celebrated on Oct. 16 every year — commemorates the founding in 1945 of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The FAO was created to respond to famines and the tragedy of hunger in a world of God’s abundance. Despite the abundance of land, water, nutrients and sunlight on this precious planet, even in the 21st century, hundreds of millions of people go hungry on Oct. 16 and every day of the year.
Each year, Presbyterian congregations join with partners around the country (and globe) to lift up World Food Day during the Food Week of Action – from the Sunday before World Food Day until the Sunday after. The week also includes the International Day of Rural Women (Oct. 15) and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (Oct. 17).
The Black Lives Matter and the Land Back movements remind us that our food has been grown on land stolen from Native peoples in a food system founded on plantation agriculture and slavery. Furthermore, it is racism that harms workers in the food chain. The very workers who provide our daily bread — those who plant, harvest and serve our food — are disproportionately people of color and are subjected to insufficient protection from Covid, dangerous conditions and poverty wages.
During Food Week, especially, we commit to act. We commit to work for transformational policies, at the local, state and national levels, and to spend our dollars on food produced and brought to us in ways that promote a sustainable, just and equitable food system.
People and Planet First is the theme of this year’s Food Week of Action. People and Planet First means prioritizing family farmers, fishers and others producing in harmony with nature — agroecologically — and achieving food sovereignty. As communities continue to face the pandemic and vulnerable food chains, we realize the necessity of building resilient agricultural systems that protect and cool the planet and put farmers and workers first. This year’s Food Week highlights groups and initiatives that are building an equitable and sustainable food systems, while also tackling the economic and racial causes of hunger, poverty and oppression.
Food Week highlights the actions and campaigns of the 90-plus cosponsoring groups and congregations that are building a better, more equitable food system. Visit pcusa.org/foodweek information and resources on the Food Week of Action and World Food Day.
In your congregation, everyone can learn more about eating and the related issues of health, environment, the sacredness of food and community building with the “Just Eating? Practicing Our Faith at the Table” curriculum. The curriculum has spurred new farmers markets, advocacy on the Farm Bill and church-based food initiatives. Go to pcusa.org/justeating to download the free curriculum. You may also get ideas from the “Food Sovereignty for All: Overhauling Our Food System with Faith-Based InitiativesGuide” found at bit.ly/phpfoodfaith
Andrew Kang Bartlett, Associate for National Hunger Concerns, Presbyterian Hunger Program
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, October 16, 2022, the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)
Today’s Focus: Food Week of Action and World Food Day
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Jimmie Hawkins, Director, Office of Public Witness-Washington, Compassion, Peace & Justice, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Kari Hay, Mission Specialist II, Director’s Office, Theology, Formation & Evangelism, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Let us pray
Dear God, we pray for wisdom to reject the idea that we can have enough for ourselves only if others do without. We pray that each of us is able to recognize and be grateful for the abundance that you have laid out for us. We pray for your guidance and grace. Amen.